Seniors are often targets for con artists and scams because of their wealth. Whether it’s through the phone, sent through the mail or email, scammers will try to get personal and financial information for their own gain. Knowing different types of scams and how to avoid them will help seniors protect their personal identities and finances.
Types of Scams:
- Medicare Scams. Instances such as equipment fraud or lab schemes are common types of scams. For equipment fraud, manufacturing companies say they will give products to people completely free of charge, but this is not the case. Insurers are then charged for these products.
- Telemarketing Scams. Usually selling fake products and services, offering prizes or vacations, collecting for fake charities and phone scams are a major issue for seniors. Con artists rush people by giving them a small time frame and it can be stressful and make it hard to think clearly. They want people to send money and not follow up with anyone – family, friends and especially lawyers. If anything even feels slightly off, hang up immediately.
- Internet fraud. This includes phishing, investment schemes and reverse mortgage scams. Phishing happens when an email is sent that looks official and asks the person to give personal information. It’s usually disguised as “updating” or “verifying” information. Then, the senior will get emails that look like they have been sent from the IRS. The con artists can now use this information to steal money or commit identity theft. Investment schemes can be appealing to those planning retirement. Usually a pyramid or other type of “get rich quick” scheme, they will probably ask for banking information. Do not give out this information and never believe emails that promise large amounts of money. Reverse mortgage scams usually offer things like free properties and opportunities to invest or refinance. Before making any decisions, consult a known reverse mortgage counselor and they will know if it’s a rip-off or not.
- Funeral and Cemetery Scams. Some con artists will go to a funeral and pose as someone to whom the deceased owed money. They will make up fake debts in order to get money from the grieving relatives. Other kinds of funeral scams are from unscrupulous funeral homes. They add as many charges to the bill and make the family overpay for the funeral. Sometimes for cremation services, the director will insist on an expensive casket even though cardboard caskets are the most common for cremations.
- Grandparent Scams. Con artists will trick seniors into thinking they are their grandchildren and need money for something. To cover their tracks, they usually ask for the transaction to stay between them, so the parents never find out.
How to Avoid Scams:
- Never give personal information. If anyone asks for name, address, credit card, social security or medical information, do not answer.
- Do not sign any documents. Scams can be sent through the mail, too. If there are any documents asking for a signature, read the document carefully. If there are parts that don’t make sense or if the source of the document is unknown, do not sign it.
- Ask questions. If someone is representing a company, ask for the caller’s name and the company address. Consult organizations like the Better Business Bureau, the National Fraud Information Center or a local consumer protection agency to check the validity of the company.
- Second opinions. Seniors should have a trusted and business-savvy friend present for any business decisions. They can help verify legitimacy and give advice for any decisions being made.
Seniors need to know about the different types of scams that can affect them. Once they know, they can take the necessary precautions to protect their identities and finances. Being able to avoid scams provides peace of mind and seniors can focus on living their lives to the fullest.
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy, and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture, and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.
To learn more about our comfortable, elegant community, contact us today!